When married couples with children go their separate ways, they must remember to keep their children’s best interests at heart, but for some parents, that’s easier said than done. Divorce can be very stressful and it can make parents act irrationally.
When parents decide to divorce, they must do their best to withhold the messy details from their children, and maintain a positive attitude about the future. Some parents however, take the opposite approach and do everything within their power to harm, if not destroy the other parent’s relationship with their children.
This process was named parental alienation syndrome (PAS) and is a topic of hot debate in mental health circles, and many believe it’s a form of child abuse. Parental alienation occurs when one parent actively campaigns against their ex-spouse, eventually causing the children to despise the other parent.
Signs of parental alienation syndrome:
- Cutting off phone calls with the other parent
- Not giving the children birthday cards or gifts from the other parent
- Lying about the other parent to the children
- Continuously badmouthing the other parent
- Making the children act as “spies”
- Telling the children that the other parent does not love them
- Telling the children that the other parent abandoned them (when it’s not true)
- Lying to the children about domestic violence, physical or sexual abuse
Children have to learn unfounded hate from somewhere, and when that hate involves a loving parent, it’s usually a classic case of parental alienation syndrome. Initially, women were thought to be the main perpetrators of parental alienation, but that’s no longer the case.
Mild to Severe Cases of Alienation
Judith Ray, a licensed family therapist in Colorado Springs, told the Denver Post that 50 percent are men. Such men were narcissistic, arrogant and had little empathy, while female perpetrators were insecure, needy, had borderline personalities, and a strong fear of being abandoned.
According to psychologists, in a mild case of PAS, the other parent is unaware of what they are doing and will stop badmouthing their ex when they are told that they are hurting their child. In a severe case, the alienator is obsessed and their hatred for their ex-husband or wife is stronger than their urge to protect their children, Ray told the Denver Post.
Legal Counsel for Parental Alienation Cases
Parental alienation syndrome can be devastating to children and families. It robs children of a parent and half of their family, and half of their heritage. They lose a mother or father, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. In a severe case of alienation, the broken bond can be permanent.
At Jones Law Firm, PC, we recognize parental alienation and its devastating effects. If you believe that PAS is destroying your relationship with your child, we urge you to contact our Denver parental alienation attorneys for professional guidance.